Lyon inspiring next generation of spinners
Victoria youngster Sam Grimwade loves watching Nathan Lyon in action
19 December 2015, 11:39 AM AEST
Shane Warne inspired kids around Australia to bowl legspin throughout his incredible career, now Nathan Lyon is the one motivating the likes of Sam Grimwade.
Lyon is some 533 Test wickets behind Shane Warne's tally of 708 and certainly lacks the legspinner's bravado.
However, he is shaping the approach of teen tweakers like Warne did.
Grimwade, a highly-rated offspinner who will face the West Indies in this weekend's tour game, is the perfect example.
"I love watching Nathan Lyon. I'm a self-proclaimed offspin nerd," Grimwade said.
Quick Single: Grimwade in action against the West Indies
"I'm pretty lucky that while I've been growing up, Nathan Lyon has played 50 Test matches and taken a lot of wickets.
"I don't think I'd be the bowler I am today if I didn't grow up watching him."
Grimwade, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Wednesday, will play for a Victorian Invitational XI in the two-day game that starts in Geelong on Saturday.
Bowling to Test cricketers might intimidate some his age.
However, Grimwade is feeling confident and it has nothing to do with the opposition's ongoing woes.
As a 16-year-old he dismissed India's Ajinkya Rahane in a tour game, while this year he toured England with the national under-19 side.
The words of Lyon, who met Grimwade at a training camp in Brisbane, will also be ringing in his ears.
"He just spoke about backing yourself all the time," Grimwade said.
"Be confident you can always get the batsman out.
"I was very nervous against India, they're arguably the best players of spin in the world, but they're only human."
Grimwade needed special permission from Melbourne Grammar to face India last year, when he should have been sitting exams.
At least that source of stress won't be there this weekend, with final results having come out on Monday.
"I was really stoked with how I went because I missed a lot of school this year," he said.
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"It was annoying on tour when I had to homework ... I think I managed it quite well."
That's not to say the end of school has allowed a degree of normality for Grimwade.
"I missed Schoolies. I was in Adelaide with the Vics' under-19 squad. Fortunately or unfortunately I wasn't there with my mates," he said.
"It was probably a good thing."
Grimwade hopes to learn as much as possible in Geelong.
The Victorian is also well aware of the bigger picture - an ongoing three-Test series.
"Anything the team and I can do to hamper the West Indies' confidence would be great," he said.